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Why do we eat Cholent on Shabbat?

Why do we eat Cholent on Shabbat?


In the 2nd Temple Era, there existed a sect of Jews known as the Sadducees (named after their leader, Saddok). This misguided sect denied the Divine origin of the Oral Law, and lived their lives by their own interpretation of the Scriptures.

One of their misinterpretations of the Scriptures concerned cooking on the Shabbat. The Torah says, "You shall not kindle fire in any of your dwelling places on the Sabbath day" (Exodus 35:3). The Sadducees understood this verse as a prohibition against having a fire burning on the Shabbat. Therefore, every Shabbat they would sit in the cold and darkness, and would eat only cold food.

In truth, the Torah only forbids the act of kindling a fire on Shabbat -- it does not prohibit having on Shabbat a flame which was ignited beforehand.

The Pharisees -- literally: the "separationists," the Jews who remained loyal to the Rabbinic Torah and separated themselves from the errant Sadducees -- demonstrated their allegiance to the Oral Law by making a point of eating a hot dish on Shabbat afternoon.

In fact, many argue that the word "Cholent" comes from the Hebrew word "Shelahn," which means that it "rested overnight" on the fire.

Aside for the technical reasons for eating Cholent, we also must note that it is a tasty dish (which in itself is a good reason for the custom), and there's nothing like a Shabbat afternoon nap which follows a plate of Cholent.

Rabbi Silberberg resides in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, Chaya Mushka, and their three children.
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Avrohom Keller Crown Heights May 27, 2015

The earliest mention of "cholent" is in the Or-Zoruah 11:8.
The earliest mention of "Hamin' is in the HaMaor-HaKoton Shabbos 38:2. Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for February 18, 2014

Re: Does the Halacha require a Jew to eat cholent on Shabbos? Rav Moshe Isserles, the Rema, included it in his inline-commentary to the Code of Jewish Law (Orach Chaim 257:8), and it is also mentioned in Mishnah Berurah (fn. 48). Reply

Anonymous February 17, 2014

Does the Halacha require a Jew to eat cholent on Shabbos? Are Jews obligated to eat cholent on shabbos? Is there a din Torah on eating cholent? does Yosef Karo or the Mishna Brurah rule that a Jew MUST eat chamim (hot food) or cholent? Is eating Chamim/Cholent a custom, or law? Are there actual Halachic decisors who view this as obligatory? Reply

frank June 14, 2013

sounds great I will try this I made something like this. May you all have a blessed. Shabat shalom. Reply

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